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Generic Name: Influenza virus vaccine
Drug Class: Viral vaccines
Approval Date: November 27, 2009
Company: Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc.
The Treatment : For the prevention of influenza

What is Agriflu?

Influenza is a grave illness caused by the virus. Influenza virus is transmitted between people via tiny droplets of saliva, which are released into the air whenever the infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus may also be transmitted by contact with objects that the person infected has touched, like doorstops or any other surface.

Agriflu is used to protect against the spread of the influenza virus. The vaccine against influenza is developed each year to include certain strains that are inactivated (killed) influenza viruses, which are recommended by health professionals in the public for the year. The injectable Agriflu influenza vaccine (flu shot) is a "killed virus" vaccine. Influenza vaccine for the virus is available in nasal spray form, which is a "live virus" vaccine. Agriflu is a drug that exposes you to a small amount of the virus. This aids your body in developing immunity to the illness. Agriflu is not a treatment for an active disease that has already begun to manifest within the body.

Agriflu is a medicine for adults aged 18 and over. Infection with influenza (commonly called "the flu") is far more harmful for your health than getting the vaccine that protects against it. Influenza is responsible for many deaths every year, as well as hundreds of hospitalizations. As with all medications, it can trigger adverse effects; however, the chance of serious adverse effects is very low.

Like all vaccines, Agriflu may not provide immunity from illness for everyone. The vaccine cannot protect against the effects of the avian flu ("bird influenza").

What should be avoided?

It is still possible to receive the vaccine even if you suffer from an illness that causes you to feel sick or have a fever. In the event of an acute illness with fever or another type of disease, wait until you recover before you can receive this vaccine.

Note down any side effects you may experience following the administration of this vaccine. If you are ever required to get another vaccine against influenza later on, you'll be required to inform the doctor whether the first shot had any adverse side effects. As with all vaccines, influenza virus vaccines may not offer protection against illness for everyone. The vaccine cannot protect against the effects of avian influenza ("bird influenza"). Infection with influenza (commonly called "the flu") is significantly more hazardous for your health than getting the vaccine to guard against it. Influenza is responsible for many deaths every year, as well as several hundred thousand hospitalizations. Like all medicines, the vaccine may cause adverse effects; however, the chance of serious adverse side effects is incredibly low. Follow the instructions of your physician regarding the restrictions you must follow on your food, drink, or any activity following the vaccination.

Before you take this drug

Do not take Agriflu if, in the past, you've been the victim of an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine or are:

  • Having a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome (especially if you experienced it within six weeks of having an influenza vaccine) or

  • If you're allergic to eggs or chicken products, kanamycin, neomycin, or any other ingredient in the vaccination,

Before you receive the influenza virus vaccine, inform your doctor whether you're intolerant to any medication or:

  • A blood clotting disorder, such as hemophilia, or bleeding that is easy;

  • A neurologic disorder or a disease that affects the brain (or, in the case of a previous vaccination),

  • An allergic reaction to latex rubber

  • A compromised immune system triggered by illness, bone marrow transplants, the use of certain medications or chemotherapy treatments,

  • If you are on a blood thinner, such as warfarin (Coumadin).

You may still get an injection if you are suffering from an illness that is causing you to feel sick or have a fever. If you have an illness that is more severe, such as a fever or any other kind of disease, wait until you recover before you can receive this vaccine.

Pregnancy Category B Your doctor will determine if you should be treated with Agriflu in the event of pregnancy or if you have a high chance of getting sick with influenza. It isn't known if the influenza virus vaccine is absorbed into the breast milk of a nursing mother or if it poses a risk to the baby who is nursing. Don't take this medicine without letting your doctor know whether you are breastfeeding.

How to take Agriflu?

Agriflu is administered by injecting (shooting) it into the muscle. This injection is given in a physician's office or another clinic.

You should get an annual flu vaccination. Your immunity will decrease gradually over the course of 12 months after you have received the influenza vaccine.

The influenza virus vaccine is typically offered in November or October. Certain individuals may have to get their vaccinations in a different timeframe or at a later date. Follow the instructions of your doctor. Your doctor might suggest treating pain and fever using an aspirin-free pain relief medication like acetaminophen (Tylenol) as well as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and many others) after the shot has been administered and for the following 24 hours. Follow the directions on the label or your physician's directions on the dosage of this medication to consume. It is crucial to avoid the onset of fever when you suffer from seizures, such as epilepsy.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since flu shots are generally only offered once each year, you'll probably not be on the schedule for dosing. Contact your physician if you do not receive your annual flu shot in November or October.

What happens if I overdose?

A dose of the vaccine that is too high is highly unlikely.

Side Effects of Agriflu 

Agriflu does not cause you to get sick with the flu virus it is a part of. However, you could experience symptoms reminiscent of the flu at any time during flu season. These symptoms could be caused by different varieties of the influenza virus.

You shouldn't get a booster shot if you experience a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction to the initial shot. Be aware of any side effects that you experience after receiving this vaccine. If you do receive a second influenza vaccine at some point in the near future, you'll be required to inform the doctor if the initial shot caused any adverse effects. Contact emergency medical assistance when you notice any of the symptoms that indicate an allergic reaction, like hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of your lips, face, and throat, as well as your tongue. Contact your doctor immediately when you notice any of the following serious adverse effects:

  • An unusual or severe weakness in your legs or arms (which may be experienced between 2 and 4 weeks after the date you received your vaccine);

  • High fever high fever

  • Unusual bleeding.

Mild Side Effects:

  • Low fever and chills;

  • Redness, bruises, swelling, pain, or a lump at the site where the vaccine was injected

  • Fatigue, headache, or

  • Muscle, joint, or muscle.

This is not a comprehensive list of all the side effects. Other side effects could occur. Inform your physician about any unusual or uncomfortable side effects. You can report any symptoms to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Details on dosage

Usual Adult Dose for Influenza Prophylaxis:

0.5 mg once per intramuscular injection

Interaction with other drugs

Before you receive this vaccine, inform your physician if you're taking phenytoin (Dilantin), theophylline (Respbid, Slo-Bid Theodur, Uniphyl), or a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin).

Inform your doctor if you've recently taken medication or received treatments that could weaken your immune system, for example:

  • An oral, nasal, inhaled, or injectable steroid pill.

  • Medicines to treat psoriasis Rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune diseases treatments like azathioprine (Imuran), efalizumab (Raptiva), etanercept (Enbrel), leflunomide (Arava), and many others, as well as

  • Medications to prevent or treat rejection of organ transplants, including basiliximab (Simulect) or cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf), muromonab CD3 (Orthoclone), mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), sirolimus (Rapamune), and tacrolimus (Prograf).

The list below is not exhaustive, and there could be additional medications that could interfere when used in conjunction with the vaccine. Discuss with your doctor any prescription or over-the-counter medicines you've received. This includes minerals, vitamins, and herbal supplements, as well as medications prescribed by doctors who are not yours. Don't begin using the new drug without consulting your physician.

FDA approves Agriflu

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Agriflu for individuals aged 18 and over to help prevent the spread of disease that is caused by subtypes of influenza A as well as B.